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MILWAUKEE – Like other hospitals in the region, Children’s Wisconsin is seeing a sharp upswing in patients with the COVID-19 virus. Hospital officials on Wednesday reported an average of 20 children a day have tested positive for the virus during the Dec. 29-Jan. 4 period. That surpassed the previous high of 15 recorded the second week of December 2021.

“Thankfully, all of the [coronavirus] variants have not affected kids’ physical health as much as it has adults,” Dr. Michael Gutzeit, Children’s Wisconsin chief medical officer, noted at a press briefing.

He added that he’s concerned about data indicating that the nearly two-year global pandemic is negatively affecting children in other ways, including declines in reading and math proficiency and rising instances of suicide and depression.

“We want to be getting through this pandemic and getting to an environment of healing,” Gutzeit said.

He called on community members to support one another to limit the pandemic’s impact. This includes keeping children in school as much as possible by using these tools:

  • Diligent hand washing
  • Keeping children at home who are not feeling well
  • Vaccinations against COVID-19 for all who are eligible (currently ages 5 and older)

Gutzeit added that he’s encouraged by a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review of administering a COVID-19 vaccine to children under the age of 5. “My hope is this review can be completed as soon as possible. But we must follow the science,” he said.

Gutzeit said he understands why parents struggle with whether to have their children vaccinated against COVID-19.

“There is so much information and disinformation flying around. I think it’s difficult for parents to discern what is factual,” he said advising that parents direct vaccine questions to their primary care providers or pediatricians and review the latest vaccine information from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Courtesy of Children’s Wisconsin

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases, particularly the omicron variant, has delayed the post-holiday start at schools around the country or pushed some schools to offer online learning only. 

“We realize that everyone’s desire is to have learning in person,” said Gutzeit. “My suggestion would be for schools to work with their local health departments and state health professionals to develop strategies.”

Children’s Wisconsin

Children’s Wisconsin, a top pediatric facility in the nation, serves children and their families from all 50 states, as well as many countries around the world. With two locations, Children’s Wisconsin-Fox Valley Hospital in Neenah and Children’s Wisconsin-Milwaukee Hospital, the non-profit organization offers specialty care, primary care, urgent care, labs, therapies, and community services. Follow them on Facebook.

The Racine County Eye is committed to publishing the most current and accurate information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in our Coronavirus section. View both the Racine County COVID-19 Dashboard and Kenosha County COVID-19 Dashboard offering real-time (updated Monday – Friday) statistical reporting for Racine and Kenosha Counties.

Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...